One of nine California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) “Most Wanted” suspects has been arrested on charges of diversion of construction funds and financial elder abuse.
Unlicensed contractor Harold Woodward Galbraith Sr., 64, of Porterville, was taken into custody May 1.
A Tulare County (Calif.) building official noticed that Galbraith had pulled several owner-builder permits and recognized him from CSLB’s Most Wanted Web site (http://www.cslb.ca.gov/GeneralInformation/Newsroom/MostWanted/).
Galbraith became aware that law enforcement was after him and surrendered to authorities at the Tulare County courthouse with the hope that he would be released on his own recognizance. Instead a judge ordered Galbraith into custody.
Galbraith has a long history of illegal activity in three California counties. His apparent method of operation has typically been to ask for excessive up-front deposits, preferably cash or cashier checks, then he either abandons the job, delays it, or does poor work. His victims include elderly and rural homeowners who try to save a few dollars by using the owner-builder process. CSLB revoked Galbraith’s contractor’s license in 1997.
CSLB’s “Most Wanted” Web site features the most egregious unlicensed violators in California who are known to prey on vulnerable and unsuspecting homeowners. Complaints against these unlicensed individuals have been lodged with CSLB, law enforcement agencies, and district attorneys around the state. There are active warrants for the arrest of the people on the list.
CSLB licenses more than 315,000 contractors. In any given year, complaints are filed against only 3% of licensed contractors.